March is National Nutrition Month, so we are going to focus here on mesothelioma nutrition tips. Good nutrition is important for everyone but for those facing the challenges of mesothelioma nutrition takes on extra importance. When chemotherapy, radiation and medication put a dent in your appetite, it becomes crucial to make sure whatever you can eat gives you the optimal mesothelioma nutrition.
Fiber is not a nutrient but it is a vital part of the diet for optimal mesothelioma nutrition. Fiber, also called roughage, is the stuff plants are made of. Dietary fiber is the kind we eat. Dietary fiber adds bulk to the diet and helps prevent constipation.
Constipation and its more serious consequence, bowel obstruction, are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous conditions you should try to avoid now. But it is very common for cancer patients to have constipation (fewer than three bowel movements a week), according to the National Cancer Institute.
Constipation can be caused by:
- Too little water or fiber in the diet.
- Not being active.
- Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.
- Certain medicines used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and pain.
To prevent constipation, eat more fiber-containing foods. Twenty-five to 35 grams of fiber a day is best. Food labels for packaged foods show the amount of fiber in a serving. We’ve listed a few sources of fiber below. Add a little more fiber each day and drink plenty of fluids at the same time to keep the fiber moving through the intestines.
Get Your Daily Fiber Dose
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal (half cup dry oats) – 4 grams
- 1 medium apple with peel – 3 grams
- 2 slices whole grain bread – 4 grams
- 1 cup raspberries – 8 grams
- 1 cup cooked kidney beans – 12 grams
- 1 cup cooked frozen spinach – 6 grams
Source: National Fiber Council
Take it slow. Boosting your fiber intake too quickly may cause abdominal discomfort. Drink plenty of water. Check with your doctor about whether fiber supplements such as Citrucel, Metamucil or Fiberall would be helpful for you.